The name of the camp means “teeth of the crocodile”. Today we took a game drive to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, through which runs the nearly dry Boteti River. We rode in a safari vehicle, based on a Toyota Land Cruiser, with the back outfitted with an elevated platform with several rows of seats for guests, and a canvas roof. We saw many male elephants, hippos, kudus, impalas, one giraffe, one steenbok, and many birds.
After lunch in the field of tuna casserole, salad, couscous, etc., we headed home. It was quite sunny and hot. The elephants were throwing mud and dirt on themselves, perhaps due to the heat, or to counter the ticks and parasites on their skins. Many had broken tusks, due to fighting or digging in the ground for food; which side was broken showed whether they were right-handed or left-handed.
There exists tension in Botswana between farmers and conservationists. The free-range cattle roaming over large areas bring in considerable income to the local farmers. The EU is a large market for beef, and they encouraged the expansion of the cattle industry. Sometimes the cows wander into the national parks and reserves, competing with the native wildlife. An equally significant part of the economy is eco-tourism, which depends on the large open areas with abundant wildlife. Fences can help, but recently an electric fence was built along the Boteti River to protect the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Unfortunately, it was built during a long period of drought, too close to the reduced river. When the floods came, the fence was swept away. If the pandemic crisis hurts the tourism industry, that could tip the balance towards the farmers.